Bee-Ball - Atari 2600
In the animal kingdom, bees are widely known as efficient workers. But there's an interesting fact that we as humans don't know--bees enjoy having fun! Every year bees from many places gather in one spot to play in a competitive tournament of Bee-Ball! This unique insect game is a mix of tennis and volleyball where bees hit a honey ball over a net using a racquet. A bee judge watches over the match and serves new balls as needed. If the ball touches the floor or flies out of bounds, a point is scored. Avoid fouling the ball out, use your dexterity to block your opponent's shots, slam the ball to score, learn new tactics to outwit your opponent, and you could be the next Bee-Ball champion!
In the competitive sport of Bee-Ball, you must score 10 points against your opponent to win a match. You can swing at the ball to send it flying over to the net or block when your opponent is trying to get the ball past you. If the ball is about to fly over your head, you can head butt the ball in an attempt to prevent a point from being scored against you! Points are scored if the ball touches the floor or the ball flies out of bounds, but in order to score you must first successfully serve.
Bee-Ball supports single and two player play modes. In single-player mode, you compete against a challenging AI computer opponent. In two-player mode you can compete head-to-head against a friend!
Includes cartridge and four-page, full-color manual. Available in both NTSC and PAL video formats (please specify above when ordering).
|Number of Players||1 - 2|
|Label and Artwork||Ivan Machado|
|Manual Layout||Nathan Strum|
Granted I'm not normally a fan of sports titles, but BeeBall has spot on AI and provides a decent challenge. The sprites are very colorful and this game makes excellent use of multicolor background by alternating the background color palette. The physics is floaty, kind of how you'd expect a bee to operate. To serve, you simply hit the fire button to volley the ball back and forth. It takes to getting used to but I finally managed to beat the AI in a round for the win.
My only regret with this title is not having any friends to play with, but that is hardly the programmer's fault.
Bee•Ball is a fun game both in gameplay and appearance. The bees' movements are appropriately floaty, and the sprites are wonderfully designed and animated. There's even a judge bee that watches the action from the top of the screen, and tosses out the ball for serves. There's not a great deal of audio, but what's there is well-suited for the game. The computer opponent manages to put up a pretty-good challenge, although after awhile you can learn to exploit some of its weaknesses. The two-player option takes care of that little problem, but only if the other player is as practiced-up as you are - so you may want to give them some time with the one-player game before going head-to-head. The only glitch I noticed is that occasionally the ball will pass right through your bee, but that may be more of a matter of timing the swing right, than anything inherently wrong with the game.
Bee•Ball is a simple game, but it has great gameplay and excellent replay value. Add to that the delightful graphics, and you have a real winner. The programmer also drew the whimsical illustrations for the manual, and with this being only his first 2600 game, I'm eagerly looking forward to what he comes up with next.